Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cause of concern in GCC

February 23, 2019

The burden of non-Hodgkin lymphoma - a cancer that starts in white blood cells called lymphocytes - on public health sector is increasing by the day in Oman and the GCC and it ranks among the most common cancers in the region. 

In 2018, 229 new cases of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma were reported in Oman, representing a total of 6.9 per cent prevalence amongst other forms of cancer. It ranks third among all malignancies in Oman, it was revealed at a summit.

More than hundred prominent haematologists, medical experts and researchers came together at the 1st Gulf Lymphoma Summit, held in Oman recently.

The event, which was hosted by the Omani Society of Haematology, and endorsed by Emirates Society of Haematology focused on shedding light around the strategies that need to be developed in advancing lymphoma care in general and a deeper understanding of the impact of non-Hodgkin lymphoma across the GCC.

Throughout the region, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is ranked in the top five cancers in the GCC countries except in Bahrain and amongst women in Oman. It is the second most common cancer in Oman and Kuwait among males. The incidence in GCC countries lies between the low European - American and high African rates.

Dr Abdulhakim al Rawas, president, Oman Society of Haematology, said, “Blood cancers constitute a group of diseases that affect the production and function of blood cells and has detrimental impact on survival, quality of life of patients and healthcare systems. Our primary objective is to address the unmet medical needs of people living with similar conditions through collaborative work with our partners.”

In a recent study issued by the World Health Organization, non-Hodgkin lymphoma accounted for the most frequent type of cancer in men (18 per cent) in the age group of 15-34 years, out of an estimated 555,318 new cancer cases.